Last time we saw the benefits of reading stories to Preschoolers, from a storybook. In continuation, we will now concentrate on telling stories with glove puppet play.
Apart from the benefits provided by story telling through storybooks, glove puppets provide additional interactive experiences when the children interact with the puppet characters.
Preschoolers are at a symbolic stage of development and believe in animism. They think that an inanimate object is capable of actions and has a lifelike quality. In this context, they will believe that the glove puppets are really alive and enjoy stories told through them. By good designing of the facial characteristics of the puppets and their deft manipulation, the characters are brought to life. Even the rudimentary versions of the puppets will be liked by your child. Better still you can even buy the puppets at a store.
Note:-Puppet play tells a story to children as does the storybook reading session. Both have similar learning and benefits for children. Refer to our previous article titled ““Preschoolers love for storybooks” for details. Glove puppets maybe made at home or bought from stores.
If you are new to glove puppet manipulations, keep the story short with just two characters at play. If not, learn to bring on one/two puppets at a time from among say, 5 puppets for the long/full story.
Glove puppets can also be easily manipulated by children for their own play.
- You have to practice in front of a mirror for the puppet manipulation which requires dexterity of your fingers, holding the puppet at a comfortable height. Use dialogues to find out how the voice modulation can be made suitable to the character’s mood and feelings. Puppet movements can be from side to side, forward and backward and even bending ones. You can make the puppet pick up and toss things and move their heads and arms.
Coordinate the speech and movement of the puppet.
- If you have a puppet in each hand, one puppet will talk and move at a time, and the other puppet will remain silent and immobile, but with a listening stance. If puppets are not acting, they should always face the child.
Glove puppet play session procedures
Before you begin your puppet play session, give a brief demonstration to your child and allow him to get familiar with the puppets .This will remove any fears he may have of the puppet. He may even help in naming the characters.
1. Sit facing the child such that he is able to watch the play at a comfortable height and distance.
2. Wear a puppet on each hand and begin the story/play. Following are two examples of themes you can use for your story.
* How a mother prepares her young child for school. Develop the plot of the story in the way you want and complete the story within 10 to15 minutes. (Later, you can increase the length of the story when your child’s attention span increases).
*You can borrow from real life event, e.g. the child does not want to go to school today and how the mother convinces him to go. End on a happy note.
Some of the movements are:
Child clutches his tummy and pretends to have a stomachache.
Child yawns with the hand on his mouth or hands stretching, on getting up.
All the morning ablution movements the mother does for the child.
*You can conjure up other movements as you go along.
3. Make the puppets move and emote as per the storyline.
4. When ending the story on a happy note let your child bid goodbye to the puppets. You may say that the boy has to go to the school, so we must say “bye”. Children feel more comfortable with a closure to a story.
It is not hard to conduct a puppet session. Sometimes, if you cannot practice the puppet play for the story, due to lack of time, you can be spontaneous and play it by ear. No problem. Remember, your child is eager to see the puppet move and talk, no matter how unsure you are. Children have a wonderful imagination and they indulge in pretend play during this stage of development. They will identify with the characters, and be engrossed in the story.